The other night my husband and I popped in the movie 2012. In case you haven't heard about it, or seen it, the movie is supposed to chronicle the events leading up to the end of the world (predicted by the Mayan calender). I cuddled up next to my husband and dog, popcorn in hand, to watch what I'd heard was a special effects masterpiece. For the first thirty minutes or so, I enjoyed the story.
But then I got annoyed.
The reason, you ask?
Cell phones. Yes, cell phones. Granted, I understand the whole movie is a stretch of the imagination. And I love getting lost in worlds like that. But I was so annoyed at how unbelievable the cell phone service was, that it took me right out of the story. Seriously, the world is ending. *Mild Spoiler Alert Here* Everything from Seattle to Los Angeles has just fallen into the Pacific Ocean. Every natural disaster you can think of is happening. BUT, the main characters still have cell phone service. Even at the end of the movie...STILL CELL PHONE SERVICE. Honestly Columbia Pictures, who is the cell service provider for these characters??? It got to the point that I was so bothered by how unbelievable that one story line was that I stopped paying attention to everything else going on in the movie and spent the rest of the time playing Mystery Science Theater 3000 with my husband while our dog, Pippin, scavenged for dropped popcorn pieces.
The amazing cell phones got me thinking about stories and my own writing. Yeah, I've read books with characters or story lines that have thrown me right out of the world the author has created. And it's frustrating, just like the cell phones in the movie. When I read, I want at least one of several things to happen: entertain me, force me to think in a way I haven't before, help me learn something new, or make me ask myself questions I haven't thought of before. I read as an escape and the last thing I want is to be pulled out of a book because of something about the story that seems too unreal. As writers, we have to be careful to make our stories believable. And it doesn't matter what you write: romance, mystery, historical, sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, etc. The concept applies to every book, every character, and every reaction. All aspects of your story need to be believable in the world you've created. If they're not, you run the risk of losing your reader because the story isn't true to the characters/world you've made.
So, I have to thank 2012 and its super cell phone service for...
1. Letting me know that a cell phone tower is the safest place to be when the world ends.
2. Reminding me that I always need to read through my manuscripts and see them as my audience does.
3. Helping me remember to make sure readers can truly believe all aspects of my books.